WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump of the former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in rebuffing a subpoena Monday in the investigation into Russia election of interference. A top House Democrat cited new evidence he said appeared to show Flynn lied on a security clearance background check.
With Trump in the middle east on his first foreign trip as president of the investigations of the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign — and accusations of a Trump campaign collaboration — showed no sign of easing in Washington. Flynn’s own defensive crouch brought the high legal stakes he faces investigation intensify: an AMERICAN counterintelligence probe of Russia, a federal investigation in Virginia and several parliamentary questions.
Also, The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump asked two top intelligence chiefs in March, publicly denied that there was collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.
Citing current and former officials, of the Post, said the national intelligence director, Daniel Coats, and the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, both denied Advantage of the application, the assessment of the inappropriate. Jackets may be confronted with questions on the report Tuesday when he is scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Flynn’s lawyers told the Senate intelligence committee on Monday that he does not have personal documents sought under the congressional subpoena, citing an “escalation of the public frenzy” against him. They also said that the Ministry of Justice, the appointment of a special counsel has a legally dangerous area for him to cooperate with the Senate panel’s investigation.
Hours later, Rep. Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House oversight committee, said that the government documents he reviewed showed inconsistencies in Flynn’s disclosures of AMERICAN researchers in the beginning of 2016 during his security clearance review.
Cummings said Flynn was found to have misled authorities about the source of a $33,000 payment from Russia through the state-sponsored television network not to identify the foreign officials with whom he met, including President of Russia Vladimir Putin and glossed over his firing as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. Cummings made his points in a letter asking the commission’s chairman, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, to subpoena the White House for documents related to Flynn.
It is unclear of Cummings’ letter or Flynn would face the legal risk for his response to a statement from the researchers. But in April a declaration Cummings warned that falsifying or hiding of the facts on the security clearance reviews are federal crimes and convictions can lead to fines and up to five years in prison.
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Waiter, declined to comment on Cummings’ claims.
Trump named Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and top military chief intelligence, are the top national security aide in January, only to fire him less than a month later. The White House has said that Flynn had misled top U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his contacts with the Russian officials, including Russia’s ambassador in the US
Cummings and other Democrats have blasted Trump and his team for not being more careful to check Flynn’s background before they brought him to the White House, while the Trumpet administration has tried to blame the Obama administration for failing to properly vet Flynn earlier.
Cummings said Monday that Flynn provide inconsistent or misleading statements to the AMERICAN declaration of the researchers in the beginning of 2016 during the renewal of his credentials.
Cummings cited a government report in March 2016, he said, showed the retired Army general told the authorities that the payments he received for his 2015 trip to Moscow paid for by “AMERICAN companies.” In fact, the oversight committee released a detailed e-mail and payment records months ago showing that the source of Flynn’s payment of more than $33,000 was RT, the Russian state-sponsored television network, the label has a propaganda network by the AMERICAN intelligence service.
The payments, which were made by Flynn U.S.-based speakers bureau, which grew out of Flynn’s trip to Moscow to appear on a RT-gala, where he sat at the head of a table with Putin.
In his letter, Cummings also made mention of a standard security clearance question on which respondents are known to make contacts with foreign governments or their representatives. According to Cummings, Flynn told investigators he only had “minor contact” with foreigners over the past seven years and he did not detail the names of foreign officials who he had met. Among those omitted were Putin, RT officials and the Russian military intelligence officials whom Flynn had met in Moscow in 2013, as part of his job as a defense intelligence chief.
Cummings said he found it difficult to understand how Flynn could have characterized his dinner with Putin as “non-substantial contact.”
“General Flynn had a duty to be honest in his security clearance renewal form and during his interview with the statement of the researchers,” Cummings wrote, noting that he has been in contact with the Ministry of Justice and the newly appointed special counsel about his findings.
Meanwhile, the senate committee of the summons to Flynn, focusing on his interactions with Russian officials. It sought a wide range of information and documents about its the Trump campaign contacts with Russians dating back to June 2015.
Flynn’s response stressed that his decision to invoke his constitutional protection was not an admission of wrongdoing, but rather a response to a political climate in which the Democratic members of Congress are calling for his prosecution. The lawyers also said that if Flynn responds to the request of the commission, he could be the confirmation of the existence of the documents, a deed that be used against him.
Trump has defended Flynn since his fall, and called him to strike an immunity deal as Flynn was facing a “witch hunt.” The president’s comments were in stark contrast to his harsh words during the campaign for 2016, people that have immunity or invoked the Fifth Amendment in the probe of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server.
“If you are innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Trump asked in a campaign rally in Iowa in September.
Trump himself was walking back to the Russia controversy during his visit to Israel, volunteering that he “never mentioned the word or the name of Israel” during his recent Oval Office interview with top Russian diplomats.
That note referred to the revelations that he made of confidential information about an Islamic State threat in its 10 May meeting in the Oval Office with Russia’s minister of foreign affairs and ambassador. AMERICAN officials have said that the information originated with Israel. However, it is not said that Trump told the Russians that Israel was the source.
Flynn’s decision does not completely close the door on future cooperation with the committee. But if the congress committees move to grant Flynn immunity, they would most likely be to enter into discussions with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to determine or that may prevent the FBI the case.
Read the letter: http://apne.ws/2q3S9Y9
Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan, Vivian Salama and Darlene Superville and Michael Catalini in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.